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Refugee Teacher Training with a Song and a Dance?

As I looked around the room at the women sitting in a large circle, I saw blank facial expressions and averted eyes. It turns out, as we would later learn, the women were expecting us to stand up next to the blackboard and begin “training” them. We did not do that. Instead, we joined their circle and asked them to stand and lead us in a song. We then asked each woman to introduce herself and tell us her favorite type of food (this garnered a lot of giggles). Introductions were followed by a mindfulness exercise, and then the group spent the rest of the training day learning evidenced-based practices for early childhood development and education by doing, playing, practicing, and questioning. Each activity we completed was a first for the majority of the women, if not all.

Two Little Ripples teacher candidates, during training today, role playing positive behavior management techniques for young children.

Today was our third day of training, and I could no longer imagine this same group of women sitting emotionless and quiet. Today, they were engaged, asking questions, playing, laughing, and demonstrating their new knowledge. At the end of the day, after three joyful goodbye songs, I finally had to tell the group no more songs, it was time for me to go—each woman wanted a turn to lead the group in song and dance!